A North Texas research group is looking for participants to enroll in the first clinical trials involving pregnant women and the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ventavia Research Group is looking for women in their second trimester or the beginning of their third trimester to enroll in the study at their four Dallas-Fort Worth clinics.
The clinical trial will examine the effects of the COVID-19 vaccine on expectant mothers and how protective antibodies may be transferred to the baby.
"Participating in something like this, you're essentially a medical hero," Ventavia Research Group Chief Operating Officer Mercedes Livingston said. "These women are paving the way for potentially future moms to be able to receive this vaccine in pregnancy -- maybe routinely like we do with TDAP or flu."
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Livingston said participants would be asked to keep a diary of any symptoms they may develop from the vaccine. The group works with the woman's OBGYN to track the pregnancy and the baby during the first few months after birth.
"What we’re looking for is to see how the mom builds antibody immune response and those antibodies get passed along to the baby through the placenta which essentially gives baby protection since the first day of life," Livingston said.
Kelsey Carpenter, who is expecting her second child, enrolled in the clinical trial after she discussed it with her doctor and family.
Pregnancy in a pandemic looks very different than when she had her son two years ago. She said she hoped her involvement in the trial would help future mothers and babies.
"It's very lonely. [You're] not able to be around your friends or family as much, if at all," Carpenter said. "I don’t want anybody to go through what I’m having to go through – what so many moms are having to go through."
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for pregnant women. However, a recent study by Harvard showed pregnant women in American were more hesitant to get the vaccine than pregnant women in other countries.
"I think it's really important to acknowledge their hesitancy and acknowledge their concern," said Dr. Wright Bates, OBGYN with Baylor, Scott & White Health.
Bates said expectant moms and those discussing pregnancy or considering fertility treatments should thoroughly discuss any vaccine concerns with their doctor.
Bates said out of the thousands of pregnant women who've received the vaccine to date, there have been no red flags for mother or baby.
"There's been no evidence of any trend. No evidence of increased miscarriage, no evidence of pregnancy loss or pregnancy complications, pre-term delivery so there's lots of reassuring data," Bates said.
To learn more about the clinical trials offered through Ventavia Research Group you can call 817-348-0228 or visit their website.